Monday Morning Minute: Nov. 20, 2017


Union Work – Collective Bargaining, Organizing, Arbitration, Worker Rights, Community Work, Political Work, Labor History

USW to Raise 'A Lot of Hell' if 232 Action Isn't Taken Soon on Unfair Trade

USW President, Leo Gerard, said the Union plans on “raising a lot of hell” if the Trump administration continues to delay action on the Section 232 investigations into the national security implications of steel and aluminum imports.

In April, President Trump directed the Commerce Department to trigger a Section 232 investigation into steel imports. The agency has until January 14th to submit its recommendations to the White House. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trump have said the probes will receive more attention once tax reform is completed.

“We pushed for the [Section] 232 investigations on steel and aluminum,” President Gerard said, “and to be candid we could have done that in paper, we could have done that in tire and rubber and a number of other sectors. They are all declining because of unfair trade.”

“So, at this point I think the grade that I would give is whatever the grade is for incomplete,” he added. “And I think you maybe even can say ‘not started yet.’” He also said inaction on the probes will lead to “accelerated erosion of the industrial base of the country.”

Weighing the Benefits of Re-Training Opportunities in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, one of the states with the most paper density, over 90,000 factory workers have lost jobs since 2000. That includes employees in more remote parts of the state, where legacy industries like paper have employed generations of families.

The U.S. government has a variety of programs to help workers who’ve lost jobs to globalization. The idea is with a little government help, Americans can find other well-paid jobs in the industries of the future. But in reality, reinvention is really hard.

Retraining doesn’t always pay off as handsomely as people hope. And sometimes it steers people into the wrong jobs. Workers aren’t like pegs you can simply punch into holes where there’s market demand. Health care, for example, is a growth industry, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fit for most laid-off factory workers.

Click to read the entire article: Is retraining worth it? Laid off paper millworkers weigh the benefits


Resolute Forest Products Safety Conference

On November 9th, Resolute Locals 899 & 9-790 in Calhoun, TN; 1504 in Augusta, GA; 9-925 & 9-1924 in Catawba, SC; and 692 in Coosa Pines, AL convened with their management and safety counterparts for their annual safety conference.  Wesley Thompson, the Resolute Council Chair, arranged and led the Conference for the USW, while Leeann Foster, Assistant to the International President presented the USW Making and Converting Paper Safely program, and Jim Frederick reported on fatalities and key learnings at USW paper facilities. The Company and Union agreed to convene early next year on how they can further work together to advance worker safety.


Industry Update

Cenveo Awarded 2020 U.S. Census Printing and Mailing Contract

The two-year $61 million contract is one of the largest contracts for printing and mailing ever awarded by the U.S. Government Publishing Office. The contract will involve the manufacturing and fulfillment of 1.6 billion pieces, including letters, envelopes, inserts, questionnaires and postcards.  The majority of the work will be performed at Cenveo's printing and binding facilities located in Southern California (Los Angeles) locations and other work performed across the United States.

USW Local 11-63 – Sappi – Cloquet, MN – Sappi Invests $5.94 Million in Cloquet Mill

Sappi recently announced a $5.94 million capital investment in its Cloquet, Minn. mill to replace the headbox on Paper Machine 12 (PM12). This investment enabled Sappi to maintain its capacity by adding a state-of-the-art, dilution profiled headbox that produces excellent basis weight profiles. A headbox is an integral part of the paper machine responsible for spreading the pulp fibers evenly to form the sheet. This investment follows a $170 million capital investment in 2013 to enable the Cloquet Mill's kraft pulp operations to also produce chemical cellulose used in textile and consumer goods markets.

The new headbox will ensure that Sappi will not only improve upon its longstanding history with the graphic papers market, but also support its growing paper-based packaging business.

Remember to share Monday Morning Minute in your work place and share your stories with us.  Send your information to Laura Donovan at

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222